We will be live blogging throughout the debate tonight. I will start and some of the other regulars may join later. Commentary after the jump!

Refresh early and often.

With Rick Perry’s announcement to join the race scheduled for Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Michelle Bachmann changes her tone at all as a preemptive strike at the governor. The two of them may largely be competing for the same conservative Christian base.

This could be a make or break debate for Tim Pawlenty. His campaign has been slowly built for years and has never taken off.

Romney has the most to lose, as the overall Republican leader, especially if social issues become part of this debate.

Another interesting question is who will be the first of the declared candidates to drop out?

Live Blog:

Bret Baier asks the candidates to “put aside the talking points”. Yeah right. That will never happen!

And Bachmann leads off with some of the exact phrases she has used in the past. So much for no talking points!

And Romney came up with “7 points” to grow the economy off the top of his head!

No talking points here. Nope none at all.

Anyway, candidates are answering questions on how they will fix the economy, asked a verity of different ways by Baier.

Ron Paul sighting. Where are the PD crazies?

Paul: “You don’t bail out the people who are bankrupt and dump the debt on the people.” Common sense that does not seem so common.

Cain: Lower taxes to fix the economy.

Huntsman: I cut taxes in Utah and created a great business environment. Many in Utah would disagree.

Newt: Claims credit for the economy during his time in Congress. He had very, very little impact there.

Pawlenty: On point in his Obama attacks, but does not explain why it matters that he has no Social Security or Medicaid/Medicare plan. Then offers to “come to your house and cook you dinner” if you can show him a plan. Nice line.

Santorum: One ups Pawlenty on the ability of America to grow. Proposed cutting manufacturing corporate tax rate to 0 to see the jobs return.

Enter the highly respected Chris Wallace.

Wallace to Pawlenty: “Is Bachmann unqualified or just leading you in the polls?” Amazing.

Pawlenty-Bachmann 1-on-1. Fantastic show.

Pawlenty: Bachmann has no executive experience.

Bachmann: Pawlenty’s policies as governor are akin to President Obama.

The “light bulb freedom of choice act” from Bachmann was nothing but a political show.

Wow. Pawlenty is angry. He is seriously angry with Bachmann. This is a show.

Wallace and Baier are driving conflict in a fantastic way.

On job creation, Romney says how great it is that he and Hermain Cain have private sector experience, then goes on about his job creation record as governor. Huh?

Wallace is asking all the critical questions. Now he’s asking Newt about his campaign falling apart early.

Newt fires back fantastically with “Brett asked us to set aside the talking points. Why don’t you [Wallace] put away the gotcha questions.”

Wallace: “If you think questions about your record are Mickey Mouse, I’m sorry.”

Newt is very sharp. Staying on point effectively on a campaign of ideas.

Wallace goes after Huntsman’s conservative credentials for his cap and trade agreement, same sex unions he supported in Utah, and working in Obama’s administration. Huntsman did not address any of Wallace’s points.

Wallace to Hermain Cain: Essentially….”Do you know enough about the world to be the President?”

Huntsman: I won’t actually answer your question, instead I’ll say: “I am a conservative problem solver.”

Romney: “I want the best and brightest in our country…. We are a nation of immigrants…. We need to crack down on employers who hire illegally.” Perfect answer.

Cain: “American has got to learn how to take a joke.” Like your candidacy? Or was he talking about Huntsman?

Cain: On immigration: “We can have high fences and open doors.” Put that with Romney’s response and we’re there.

Newt: Move Homeland security to border states. Make English the official language. Semi-serious point and great point. I’m surprise no one has made English as an official language a bigger issue in the past.

Paul: He’s smart but a bit too high level at time for people to follow him, especially when talking fast. Made a good point, again common sense, that entitlements should never go to illegals.

Romney is a very effective debater. He smoothly redirects questions to what he wants to answer. Next is equally effective.

Pawlenty non-answer….

Bachmann: Blames Pawlenty for her vote on a bill that included increasing taxes.

Pawlenty offered a rebuttal that didn’t rebut anything other than the fact the he was a one-term governor and Bachmann has been in the US House.

The Minnesota brawl is taking over!!!

And the Minnesota brawl is hurting both of them, though Bachmann more because she actually has something to lose.

Santorum gravels for attention. Why? Why is he even on the stage?

Santorum claims you can have principles yet vote for things you don’t agree with? So which is it? A principle is something that is unbending. Where is Kaiser when I need him?

Newt is nailing the zingers. “This ‘super committee’ is about the dumbest thing ever”.

Newt: Still referring to the super committee: “Get rid of this secret phony business”. Huge applause.

Wow. Pawlenty is getting another chance, thanks to Chris Wallace, to address Obamneycare…or whatever he called it. He did okay.

Mitt is now on the defensive. He redirects to Obamacare. Wallace drives him back. I buy the state can do what they want argument. But I don’t think this is going well for him.

Wallace: “Congressman Paul, you are a constitutional expert.”

Whoa! Santorum gets back in!

Santorum is going after Bachmann and Paul. Those are very misdirected attacks that will not end will for you. Plus you went with social issues. Those are not winning issues in this race.

Michelle Bachmann has disappeared. Migraine?

Baier: Is Perry out smarting you?

This question has just opened cracks at Perry. Dumb question.

Mitt: “No I have the same view”, it just happens to be the view on both sides of the issue of the Afghanistan War.

Newt is dropping general’s names to claim war policy knowledge by association. In other words: “I have no freaking clue how to answer your question.” But he does manage very smoothly say nothing that sounds like something.

Can someone tell me why Huntsman and Santorum are even here? They are both AWFUL!

Huntsman just found his one qualification: “I know something about China.”

From SE Cupp on Twitter: “It’s official. Newt is now running against the debate moderators.”

My wife: “I like Ron Paul because he doesn’t speak to me like I’m an idiot. He doesn’t dumb down his language.”

Ron Paul on total freedom: Drop trade restrictions with Cuba and don’t impose sanctions on Iran for nuclear weapons. Those statements will be taken in isolation and really bring down Ron Paul.

Herman Cain says a whole lot of nothing. Yeah, we should be energy independent. Duh.

Bachmann clearly separated herself from Ron Paul on the Iranian nuclear issue.

The moderators are not equally applying the rules. They let Ron Paul go on when they did not let Santorum. But it is Santorum. Meh.

Are we really going to talk about social issues? They simply are not issues in this race. It’s the economy….

Referring to Romney, the guy from the Washington Examiner just asked Hermain Cain what problem Southerns have with Mormons. Funny how he didn’t mention Huntsman too.

To Bachmann: “Will you be submissive to your husband?” My wife is yelling right now. “DO NOT ANSWER THAT SEXIST QUESTION!”

Bachmann answer it with class, saying to “submit” means to to have “respect”. I actually agree with that.

Romney wants says “marriage should be decided at the federal level … because people move from state to state”. WHAT AN IDIOT. Should tax law be the same from state to state? Should everything else be the same from state to state? You cannot have it one way and the other, as he argues with heathcare programs as a state choice rather than a federal choice. The 10th Ammendment is not optional Mittens!

It turns out Santorum is a Federalist. Who knew? Maybe I would have had I bothered to pay attention to him before.

What is Santorum allowed to waste our time?

How can you support criminal charges for doctors who perform abortions when abortion is legal in your state? Stupid, stupid, stupid question Bret Baier.

Romney is not answering the question on whether he would extend unemployment. Now he proposes a “new system for unemployment. Romney refuses to answer the question again! What a joke! That is an easy answer.


99 weeks of unemployment is substantially too much! It should not be extended, it should be reduced.

Huntsman: The EPA has a regulatory reign of terror. Great line.

Bachmann correctly redirects a fallacious question that raising the debt was good for our economy. The two firms who have downgraded our credit did it on the basis of our total debt and inability to pay it down, not whether the debt ceiling was raised.

Herman Cain manages to say a whole lot of nothing.

Paul: “I’m glad the mainstream had caught up with auditing the FED.”

Seriously a bunch of irrelevant questions and conversations at this point.

Only closing remarks remain. Can the Minnesota brawl return? That was seriously entertaining.

Wife: “I hate you Huntsman, but you’re right on education.”


Paul: Every time you mention the “gold standard”, I just don’t think that people get you at that point.

Romney: Goes after Obama for not ever having a read job.

Bachmann: Iowa can bring the Obama Presidency to an end. She sure talks a lot about this. Maybe her real strategy is to bring, continue as the hatchet woman and become the VP choice.

Huntsman thinks he will win on solutions. Uh. Okay. More liberal solutions? No thanks.

Newt: We need to fix the problems now. Tell your congressman to repeal Dodd-Frank and Obamacare. But what does that do for you in a run for President?

Thanks for joining me today. Now quickly change the channel so you don’t have to hear a word out of party hack Hannity.